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Kawauchi: Duplicate Registrations and Voters Found

August 1, 2012, 10:09 PM HST (Updated August 1, 2012, 10:11 PM)
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County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi told reporters today that a review of the Big Island’s voter registry turned up irregularities, but nothing that should have an impact on the upcoming primary election.

Kawauchi said the review conducted from July 21-23, which included a weekend, found 50 to 60 people registered more than once, as well as five people who voted twice in the 2010 election.

She said the irregularities did not appear to be “systemic” or concentrated in any particular area. She said the duplicates could be attributed to clerical errors, such as incorrect data being inputted. Some also involved slight differences in names, such as a missing “Jr.” or “Sr.”

The duplicate registrations are being corrected and the voters who voted twice two years ago will be contacted to determine how that occurred, Kawauchi said. None of the duplicated votes occurred at the same precinct, she said.

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Kawauchi had come under fire from the state’s chief election officer, Mike Nago, for closing the county’s election office for the review on July 23 without advance notice to his office. State elections officials found out about the closure from the media, but didn’t hear from Kawauchi until that afternoon.

Kawauchi today told reporters that not notifying Nago was an oversight, and she had mistakenly believed that an email had been sent to Nago’s office on July 22 informing him that the office would be closed the next day.

Among those attending today’s press conference was Ted Hong. He is the attorney for Pat Nakamoto, the county’s longtime elections administrator who was fired early this year.

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Hong said that Nakamoto was reinstated by the county prior to completion of arbitration. However, when Nakamoto showed up for work last week, Kawauchi placed her on paid administrative leave.

Hong said Kawauchi gave no reason for the move and it is not known how long Nakamoto will remain on leave.

Kawauchi declined to discuss Nakamoto’s situation, saying she could not comment on personnel matters, including whether Nakamoto is currently an employee of the county.

Hong also represents two other former elections workers who were fired by the county and are currently going through the union grievance process.

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